Unlike the majority of the mainstream crowd, I haven’t had the pleasure of viewing a single episode of the modern classic sitcom Schitt’s Creek that Dan Levy created with his father Eugene. In an industry self-consciously riddled with nepotism, it can be difficult to exist in the shadow of a more famous parent, but one way to break the genetic mold could be to do something unexpected by breaking from the comedy genre and writing, directing and starring in something like Good Grief, one of the most tender and insightful romantic dramas to come along in years.
Children’s book illustrator Marc (Levy) has his idyllic London existence shattered when husband Oliver (Luke Evans) is tragically killed in a freak auto collision on Christmas Eve. Still struggling to process his grief one year later, Marc is thrown a curveball when he discovers that Oliver had taken a younger lover, Luka (Mehdi Baki) in Paris before his death.
On a whim, Marc decides to bring his besties Sophie (Ruth Negga) and Thomas (Himesh Patel) along on his half-hearted investigation into Oliver’s infidelity. As he encounters Luca face to face, cleans up financial loose ends with mother-like accountant Imelda (Celia Imrie), and navigates a budding romance with a beguiling Frenchman (Arnaud Valois), Marc must reckon with who he is without Oliver and how much his support group truly means to him.
As I hinted before, I have no real conception of Dan Levy’s comedy shops. But I can state with confidence that his dramatic skills both behind and in front of the camera show immense promise. His script expertly establishes relatable characters and capably keeps them engaging throughout their interwoven journeys.
It has an expertly crafted feel that never feels pretentious nor needlessly sleek (unlike a certain other Netflix offering, there is graffiti and grime on the Paris streets). From intimate handheld cinematography to pitch-perfect needle drops, everything here just fits and showcases some fine filmmaking skills from Levy.
Good Grief is a cinematic warm blanket for anyone who has had to deal with the gaping hole a devastating loss can leave us with. Watch with close friends.
Good Grief can currently be streamed on Netflix worldwide